Mr. Selfish and I visited Machu Picchu in September 2011. Because Machu Picchu is at about 8,000 feet elevation, it is recommended that visitors acclimate to the elevation in Cusco, Peru prior to visiting Machu Picchu. Cusco’s elevation is approximately 10,000 feet. We therefore stayed in Cusco for the recommended three days prior to venturing to Machu Picchu.
Cusco is a lovely town in which to take it easy and learn to acclimate to the elevation. You can just walk around and enjoy the beautiful architecture. There is also a market selling a variety of goods and different types of foods. Moreover, the ladies in their bowler hats and llamas were quite charming.